Bentley is bringing a new focus on wellness to its model range with the launch of the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase – a new grand touring SUV that builds on the strengths of the Bentayga to become a new luxury flagship, extending the latest product range to five models.
So much more than just a stretch, the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase is the result of a nine-figure investment by Bentley to create a new model that provides the best rear cabin experience since a Mulsanne, whilst retaining the Bentley hallmarks of effortless performance, exquisite handcraftsmanship and endless personalisation.
The success of the Bentayga defined and enabled the growth of the luxury SUV market since the first unveiling in 2015. Over the last seven years, the Bentayga has proved its credibility through genuine off-road capability, hybrid technology, record-breaking performance, and bespoke specifications. The Bentayga remains Bentley’s best-selling model, and has become the benchmark against which other luxury SUVs are measured. The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase once again redefines the zenith.
In 2021, Bentley achieved record sales of 14,659 cars, a 31% growth over the previous best from 2020 – and the Bentayga accounted for just over a third of this volume. The global luxury SUV market continues to expand, with the forecast increasing towards the end of the decade across all regions. However, this is not the same for the E-segment, which has been declining. The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase has the potential to raise the ceiling of the D-segment, as one of the spiritual successors to the Mulsanne.
Feedback from Bentley customers is that design, technology and performance are the three most important factors on the decision to purchase, with the driving characteristics being the top priority amongst current owners. In a recent survey, owners also confirmed that 82% of them use their luxury SUVs daily, 74% in cities and urban environments. The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase stretches the class-leading SUV’s breadth of ability even further whether you are driving or being driven.
The Extended Wheelbase will be responsible for up to 45% of all Bentayga sales when the car goes on sale later this year. The Bentayga will therefore remain Bentley’s number one model, and the most successful and in-demand luxury SUV in the world.
Introduction to the Bentayga EWB
The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) builds on the latest second-generation Bentayga, extending the wheelbase and rear cabin space by an extra 180 mm. With Body-in-White changes to the underfloor, side panels, door and roof, Bentley’s design team have ensured the lines and proportions continue to exude style and presence. This increase results in the wheelbase of the car stretching from 2995 mm to 3175 mm, with an overall length of 5322 mm. The increased length is all in the rear door, creating an exceptionally luxurious rear cabin area. With a larger cabin space than any other luxury competitor, an emphasis on wellness, and the introduction of the world’s first auto climate and advanced postural adjustment rear seat, extraordinary journeys are guaranteed.
The new Bentley Airline Seat specification is the most advanced seat ever fitted to a car, with 22-ways of adjustment and world-firsts in a new auto climate sensing system and postural adjustment technology.
In Relax mode, the seat can recline to 40 degrees, whilst the passenger seat is motored forwards and a beautifully leather-trimmed footrest deploys from the back of the front passenger seat. In Business Mode, the seat moves into its most upright position to make working on the move more comfortable.
The auto climate seat technology senses occupant temperature and surface humidity and then determines whether to apply heat, ventilation or both simultaneously to keep the occupant at optimum thermal wellbeing. Meanwhile, the postural adjustment system automatically makes micro adjustments to the occupant’s seating position and pressure points, by measuring pressure across the seat surface. The system can apply 177 individual pressure changes across six fully independent pressure zones over a three-hour period improving comfort and minimising fatigue throughout a journey.
Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, comments:
‘The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase is our first car truly dedicated to the onboard wellness of its occupants. Every Bentley gets you to your destination feeling more relaxed than when you started your journey, and yet with the Extended Wheelbase we’ve been able to go even further thanks to the adoption of world-first wellness technology embedded within our unrivalled interior cabin design. In combination with the incredible skills of the craftspeople at our carbon-neutral factory in Crewe, these advances make the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase the ultimate luxury SUV to drive or be driven in.”
The Bentayga EWB incorporates a more advanced stitching design created using digital craftsmanship. Diamonds can be seen elongating symmetrically from the centre of the seatbacks shoulder panels and along the length of the door, reflecting the extension in the car itself.
The new interior style of the rear door also includes a unique design showcasing the optional ‘Metal Overlay in Veneer’. Using a thin metal strip just 0.07 mm thick, an intricate design is bonded by hand on the surface of the veneer before the part is lacquered and polished.
New features like Bentley Diamond Illumination (where light is emitted through small perforations in the soft feel door trim) demonstrate how technology combines with contemporary craftsmanship to deliver incredibly modern design in luxurious materials. With 24 billion trim combinations alone (and a total number of possible specifications running into the trillions), the cabin of the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase is capable of offering the most individual Bentayga ever.
The introduction of Electronic All Wheel Steering, a first for the Bentayga, ensures that there is no shortfall of dynamic ability despite the longer wheelbase. In fact, the turning circle is 7% less than a standard Bentayga, at just 11.8 metres. This also guarantees no compromise between high-speed confidence and low speed convenience.
Bentley Dynamic Ride, the 48V active anti-roll control system introduced originally by Bentayga as a world-first, is included as standard and provides the optimum balance between ultimate ride comfort, handling and body control.
Comfort and Wellness in Detail
The Bentayga EWB offers the ultimate in rear passenger indulgence, with the most advanced seat ever fitted to a car, three different seat configurations, new dual air ionisers and increased cabin space.
As standard, a 4+1 seating configuration is offered with two outer rear seats providing outstanding comfort, 16 ways of adjustment, heating, ventilation and five individual massage programs. There is an occasional middle seat, easily accommodating a third adult and giving access to a ski hatch in the backboard.
A new feature with the larger cabin is the Bentley Airline Seat Specification. To enable maximum relaxation in the back, the seat backrests recline to 40 degrees, providing an ideal and comfortable position to sleep in.
The level of seat recline can be controlled through the Touch Screen Remote – Bentley’s dedicated handheld touchscreen device for controlling vehicle functions from the rear cabin. Additional switches are located in the door pocket area to set the seat to maximum recline (Relax Mode) or in its most upright position (Business Mode).
In Relax Mode, the front passenger seat will traverse to its most forward position in order to maximise the space available to the rear occupant. Additionally, a footrest – beautifully trimmed in carpet and leather and surrounded with a chrome strip – will deploy from the front passenger seat back.
Bentley Airline Seat Specification also includes four significant features including a world technology first:
With Seat Auto Climate, a passenger selects their desired temperature setpoint from six different levels. The contact temperature and surface humidity are then directly measured – cushion and backrest independently – and the heating and ventilation are adjusted to achieve the required temperature. This is continuously monitored to ensure it remains constant as optimised body temperature is vital when the focus is on individual wellbeing. In studies that have manipulated body temperature via external means, it has generally been reported that cognitive function is reduced by decreasing body temperature below normal [Wright, Hull and Ceizler 2002]. A comfortable thermal environment can also alleviate fatigue, reduce irritability, and improve driving safety [Szczurek & Maciejewska 2016]
The Postural Adjustment function uses new thigh and shoulder pockets, plus additional lumbar massage pockets, to subtly yet continuously change the shape of the seat to ease pressure points around the body, preventing dead spots and fatigue build up. There are three different programmes available, ‘All areas of the seat’, ‘Twist’ and ‘Backrest only’. The use of air pockets enables more continuous and complex movements to be made – which are virtually imperceptible to the passenger – rather than the linear movements resulting from the use of seat motors. The system goes beyond the 2D motions typical of adjustable seats, able to employ a three-dimensional twist to relieve pressure points. Six independent pressure zones can provide 177 adjustments every three hours to ensure that seat comfort is never compromised, regardless of the length of the journey. Studies have shown that actively supporting body weight in a dynamic way relieves strain, which can prime mental stress and create lack of focus. Natural supported postures have been shown to alleviate stress from tensed muscles.
The Bentley Airline Seat Specification also adds further cushion and backrest bolster adjustment, cushion extension, electric headrest height adjustment and a deployable footrest to the back of the front passenger seat. The rear seat passenger on this side of the car can also move the front passenger seat forwards via a “VIP mode”.
New for the Bentayga EWB are heated rear door and centre armrests, adding a level of detail entirely befitting of the most luxurious SUV cabin in the world.
Other configurations include a Four Seat Comfort Specification and a Five Seat option for those wanting the ability to fold down the rear backrests. A seven seat configuration is available in the standard Bentayga, however customer feedback showed that space and luxury remain a priority for the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase owners.
With the Four Seat Comfort Specification, a rear centre console between the two rear seats provides additional stowage and two further USB charging sockets. The Mulliner Console Bottle Cooler can also be chosen, housing a fully integrated drinks cooler for a 750 ml bottle, and two handcrafted Cumbria Crystal Flutes.
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the rear cabin has been enhanced to further improve onboard wellness. The rear ventilation activates only when rear occupants are detected, reducing rear cabin fan noise. The rear cabin has a separate air ionisation system that improves air quality with lower airborne particulates. The ionisers create a static charge around pollutants such as dust or allergens in the air, which in turn cause them to stick to the nearest surface. The result is the removal of such contaminants from the air that the occupants breathe.
Interior Design – Crafted Detail with Seamless Technology
The rear cabin of the Bentayga EWB sets a new benchmark for combining world-class luxury and technological innovation, demonstrating new heights of craftsmanship and comfort.
Bentley’s instantly recognisable diamond quilting has been reimagined in a dramatic and contemporary new design. Like all great design, the final execution looks simple, but the obsession to detail behind it encapsulates all that is unique about Bentley interiors.
Developed and executed through a combination of digital craftsmanship and precision technology, the symmetrical pattern at the top of the seat backs stretches the diamonds as they move away from the centre line of the seats. The doors, in turn, boast an asymmetric pattern, that accentuates the length of the door and the rear cabin as a whole.
Within each diamond, the flawless leather is perforated with holes of less than 1 mm diameter. Each hole has been digitally positioned with precision by one of Bentley’s interior designers to achieve a cohesive overall design – the ‘digital-crafting’ process.
Once the leather has gone through a perforating machine, the stitching of the diamonds is achieved with a specialised embroidery machine. The machine incorporates a camera which analyses the perforation pattern and ensures the lines of embroidery are perfectly parallel and equidistant between the perforation diamonds. The finished result is a beautiful, elegant and unique design.
To achieve a softer panel, with delicate, luxurious form language, a finer thread (usually found in Bentley’s embroidered logos) and a smaller micro-stitch (half the length of a standard Bentley stitch) has been used. This change of thread and innovation of manufacturing process has created a more accentuated, softly lofted quilting, in a way Bentley has never done before in production. This process is exactly the same as the quilting process showcased on the doors and seats of the EXP 100 GT concept car from 2019.
Enhancing the rear cabin area further, the longer door trim panels have been redesigned. The veneer panel has been lowered and extended, and it sweeps down to meet the armrest incorporating the rear door handle.
Bentayga EWB will see the first use of the Metal Overlay in Veneer feature on Bentayga series production, having previously been used on the pinnacle Continental GT Mulliner derivatives. This optional feature is included on the passenger’s fascia panel and on all four doors. The intricate design consists of individual brushed metal badges crafted to be exceptionally thin – just and 0.07 mm thick.
To create the inlay designs, a process called photo-etching is used. A very fine stencil of the design is laminated to the metal. After some intermediate steps of UV light exposure and developing of the laminate, the main process chemically etches away areas of metal not required, leaving only the inlay design. Etching means there is little manual handling or cutting of the material so the risk of damage is less and the precision that can be achieved is incredibly high. Each badge is then bonded by hand in a precise location on the surface of the veneer, before the part is lacquered and polished.
A further striking and elegant optional feature introduced for Bentayga EWB is Bentley Diamond Illumination. The illumination effect is achieved using LEDs (12 on each of the front doors, 22 on each of the rear doors) that emit light through small perforations 1 mm in diameter in the leather trim on the door panels.
The intensity and colour of the illumination through the trim can be controlled by the customer through the infotainment system and Touch Screen Remote. The feature is linked with the mood lighting to ensure consistent colour and intensity of light throughout the car. This dramatic feature can transform the interior feel and look of the cabin, especially at night.
With the increased cabin length, the front centre console has been redesigned to provide better ergonomics and functionality for the rear passengers. The rear face of the console has been extended for improved interaction with the touch screen remote, the addition of a wireless charging cradle for a mobile phone and a new air vent design.
For the first time on a Bentley, power closing doors can be specified. Two switches are located on the rear face of the extended centre console, comfortably within the reach of rear passengers. Pressing and holding the switch will close the door on the corresponding side of the vehicle using dedicated motors, creating a truly luxurious valet-like experience. The motors also engage with a light manual push on the door, for a fully integrated motion with the power latching mechanism. The motors also offer gentle assistance when opening the door.
Fitted as standard to the EWB are new ‘waterfall illumination’ interior lamps providing subtle illumination to the rear cabin. The illumination is focused towards the centre of car, and improves the passenger’s visibility of the key central controls and features. The subtle illumination provides a comfortable ambient light to the rear enhancing the feeling of luxury for the rear passengers.
Testing and Development
Over 2,500 new parts have been introduced to produce the Bentayga EWB including significant Body-in-White changes and a complete new underfloor. This has led to new manufacturing processes, layout changes and infrastructure specifically for the new model. With over 50 pre-series vehicles, nearly 2,000 weeks of collective testing have been incurred in the development of the new Bentayga EWB to give its exceptional credentials.
Two enhanced specifications of Bentayga Extended Wheelbase will be available at launch. The Azure offers elegant and timeless design with unique signatures, focusing on maximum comfort and well-being with an effortless drive. Unique specification includes a unique 22” ten-spoke directional wheel, bright lower bumper grilles, Azure embroidery and badging. Other additional features include unique quilted seats, mood lighting, heated steering wheel, and increased driver’s assistance aids.
The First Edition specification builds further, including Bentley Diamond Illumination, metal overlays in the veneer, Naim for Bentley Premium Audio and LED welcome lamps. Unique embroidery, inlays and badging identify this as a highly exclusive and distinct model.
*Article Source http://www.bentleymedia.com